Decoding urban development dynamics through actor-network methodological approach

Due to growing social and physical transformations, contemporary cities reveal the profound necessity of proper scientific approaches that are adjusted to conditions of global complexity and dynamic patterns of development. Predominance of an overall market economy, sporadic deregulations of administrative powers and a lack of local investment or resources, dominate urban reality. Incongruous urban decision-making procedures result in contextually inappropriate and incoherent urban management. We will explore these operational elements in Savamala neighbourhood in Belgrade. The actor-network theory.(ANT) is applied to analyse the hyper dynamic circumstances of transition in Serbia. An unclear regulatory framework, powerful,financial means for investment and limited institutional influence of citizen participation, deploy unstable urban development modalities at the neighbourhood level. ANT offers an insight into how urban norms, projections and structures unfold and how associations and translations of urban elements develop. Plausible yet complex collisions in Savamala constitute a challenge for ANT in mapping urban development processes and visualizing actors and networks through diagrams. Based on the presented results, the illustrative perspective of ANT minimalizes both the importance and the influence of the permanence of urban structures across time and space. Instead, ANT deals with a city as a contingent, fragmentary and heterogeneous, yet persistent product of actors, their roles, associations, agencies and networks. Possible adaptations of ANT should respond to the needs of non-scientific actors and practitioners for an interpretive tool that addresses undercover processes and mechanisms or provides explanations, recommendations or operational diagnoses on how to absorb urban development dynamics.

Published in:
Geoforum, 82, 141-157
Oxford, Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd

 Record created 2017-09-05, last modified 2018-12-03

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